One week ago I sat at the airport waiting to board a flight for a business meeting when my CEO arrived, handed me a brand new Apple watch and said, “Play around with this and tell me how you like it”. As he whisked though the line and pre-boarded, I synced the watch to my phone while I waited for my Group 3 boarding group to be called. “Go-go gadget watch!” I whispered as I snapped the sports band onto my wrist. Like Penny from Inspector Gadget, I felt ready to save the world. For those of you too young to remember her, she was the real gadget genius long before Steve Jobs invented touchscreen technology-and her Smartwatch had a laser beam, a feature my new watch sadly doesn’t have.
In reality, Penny’s technical prowess far exceeds mine and I found myself muttering “what the hell” as I tried to figure out the features associated with the digital crown and button on the side of the watch. Immediately, the watch began calculating my (in)activity and calories burned. By the time I boarded my flight, I began to receive push notifications and text messages in the form of a gentle tapping vibration on my wrist. The subtlety of the Whatsapp messages, lighting up only when I raised my wrist, quickly won my favor. I was able to receive and glance at push notifications and messages.
Once we landed in Dallas, the glance feature notified me on my flight status and provided me with the gate number to my connecting flight. My coworkers and I saw that the inter-terminal train was down so we decided that instead of waiting we would jog two terminals down. Breaking a sweat, I arrived at the gate with an accelerated heart rate and raised my wrist with high hopes only to see that I had burned a mere 56 calories.
For the next two days I enjoyed my Apple watch and especially enjoyed my friend Siri’s help in sending text messages. Answering phone calls was also easy and convenient for quick calls. Lengthy or formal conversations should be reserved for the iPhone. The oddest feature was by far the camera feature which turns on the iPhone camera, to me that makes no sense. The lack of a phone camera also means the inability to FaceTime using the watch.
My overall feeling is that the watch is nice, but it doesn’t have the wow factor that Apple’s previous products have had. Apple is known for its intuitive designs that make the complex technology simple and easy to use; the Apple watch; however, fails to meet the Apple family standard. That being said, the $350 entry price point is within an extended reach and does provide far more functionality than a traditional watch.
After three days of wearing the watch non-stop, I lent it to a client. Surprisingly, I found myself checking my wrist and missing the constant companionship and was reminded of Steve Jobs saying, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” I had felt underwhelmed with the watch the past few days and suddenly I found myself missing it. As of today, the Apple Watch is at most a want and not a need; however, in my humble opinion, wearables are a transition technology until implantables. This is a first generation Apple smartwatch and I anticipate that more features and functionality will be added as was seen with iPhones and iPads.